Gaborone — Government is committed to upgrading the livelihoods of many Batswana residing in all recognised settlements across the country, says the Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development.
Giving an update of her Ministry's pledge card on government priority areas, Assistant Minister Ms Botlhogile Tshireletso said government aimed to create an enabling environment for people living in settlements to realise their full socio-economic potential and contribute to building a unified nation.
She said in that regard, government had initiated several programmes such as Remote Area Development Programme (RADP) and Affirmative Action for the benefit of rural area dwellers.
The RADP programme seeks to achieve sustainable, social and economic development for people in recognised remote area settlements, putting more emphasis on people-centered development approach.
Ms Tshireletso said that the overall goal of the RADP was to promote the social, cultural and economic development of the remote area dwellers, the majority of whom are Basarwa, to enable them to equally benefit from the development programmes offered by government.
She noted that through the RADP, government had been able to provide considerable development assistance in social services such as schools, water supplies, health services and others.
Education and training, she said had always been an important component of RADP for the long term goal of self-reliance for rural area dwellers.
Therefore, he said government has as at April 2017 sponsored 1 167 tertiary students from rural settlements through the Department of Tertiary Education financing programme, while 492 students where sponsored by district councils at brigades and technical colleges, taking the total number of tertiary students assisted through the RADP to 1 659.
Ms Tshireletso indicated that the provision of social safety nets to the needy remained at the top of her ministry's portfolio as 3 518 beneficiaries, both permanent and temporary destitute had been assisted with food baskets since April.
She admitted that the majority of rural area dwellers lacked dignified shelters, therefore her ministry had in 2017/2018 allocated 352 houses to RADP dwellers in which 64 had been completed while 288 were at various stages of construction.
With regard to employment creation in rural areas, Ms Tshireletso noted that 1 929 formal employment, which included cooperatives, had been created as at April while 18 681 individuals were enrolled with the Ipelegeng temporary employment scheme between July and September.
She however challenged residents of those settlements to introspect and change their mindsets in terms of uplifting themselves from poverty.
Ms Tshireletso urged them to claim ownership of that which government had assisted them with to empower them.
Source : BOPA